Leading article Australia

Scott’s army

17 April 2021

9:00 AM

17 April 2021

9:00 AM

‘You stupid boy!’ was the catch phrase of Captain Mainwaring in the BBC hit series Dad’s Army, which delighted audiences throughout the Seventies. The show featured an hilarious ragtag collection of characters too old or too young to enlist during the second world war who were nonetheless determined to ‘do their bit’ to defend Britain from being invaded by Hitler. The plot line usually revolved around some imaginary Nazi threat in the quaint fictitious English village of Walmington-on-Sea and the frantic and comical attempts to confront it.

Readers of this magazine may have been reminded of Dad’s Army when they heard the announcement this week by the Prime Minister of Australia that our nation is to be placed on a ‘war footing’ to ensure the rollout of the Covid vaccines. Moreover, the so-called ‘national cabinet’ comprising a slapstick cast of the various state premiers every bit as ludicrous as the BBC’s satirical Home Guard, and which has already done so much damage to this nation, will now convene twice weekly. Heaven help us.

The scriptwriters of Dad’s Army, the hugely talented Jimmy Perry and David Croft, would be envious of the bungling ineptitude of the likes of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Given the task of organising hotel quarantine to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Andrews government handed the task to a motley crew of private security guards every bit as cartoonish as the characters portrayed by John Le Mesurier, Arthur Lowe and co., who took it upon themselves to fraternise in as friendly manner as possible with their charges including, where required, hopping into bed with them. This concern for the well-being of those enduring the indignity of being forced to stay in a Melbourne hotel led directly to the deaths of over 800 Australians, the decimation of many small businesses and livelihoods, unimaginable anguish for any number of individuals and families and the most draconian police measures this nation has ever known. But even Perry and Croft would have drawn the ‘suspension of disbelief’ line at a pregnant woman in her pyjamas being handcuffed in front of her children for posting a comment on Facebook.

Other characters who make up the national cabinet comedy troupe include the medical bureaucrats who have inflicted such crippling damage to the economies of their own states along with the jumped-up, pompous premiers and deputy premiers who love nothing more than hogging the limelight as if they themselves are defending the home fires from an insidious invading army of disease-infected people from across the border.

The reality is that the only sensible action undertaken by this government was the initial closing of the international borders. The original and correct goal was to ‘flatten the curve’, to slow the spread of the virus through the community so as not to overwhelm medical resources.

But thanks to the foolishness of the national cabinet, that goal was abandoned and replaced with the insane and unachievable goal of ‘eradication’ of the virus; forcing Australians to endure crippling economic costs that will be with us for decades and lockdowns stretching into the never-never. Indeed, rehearsing for the role of the naive and gormless Private Pike, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt proclaimed, ‘Vaccination alone is no guarantee that you can open up. If the whole country were vaccinated, you couldn’t just open the borders.’

Sweden has shown that probably the only effective long-term strategy is to learn to live with the virus. By all means, offer non-compulsory vaccines through GPs and at the same time allow those same doctors the choice of prescribing early preventative treatments such as ivermectin (now being used in South Africa at the behest of the medical profession), should those practitioners and their patients so choose.

By abandoning normal cabinet decision-making in favour of over-empowering the hapless state premiers and the bureaucrats, the PM has delivered us and his party the worst of all worlds. We are not developing herd immunity and instead we are being panicked onto a permanent war footing with a less-than-perfect vaccine rollout against an invisible enemy we can never hope to ‘eradicate’. Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Morrison?

Private Pyne

In keeping with the above comedy of errors, former defence minister Christopher Pyne has suddenly had an epiphany: ‘We could be at war with China within five years!’ This is the same man who commissioned a bunch of useless submarines that won’t be ready for at least 50 years. The idiocy of the Turnbull years never ceases to amaze.

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